February 17, 2007

Australian government to fund Aboriginal remains case

Posted at 11:52 am in Similar cases

The Australian government has agreed to assist Aboriginal groups with their bid to stop testing on human remains in the Natural History Museum in Britain.

ABC News (Australia)

Government to fund Aboriginal remains case
Friday, 16 February 2007. 07:14 (AEDT)

The Federal Government has agreed to fund the court action in Britain to try to stop testing of Tasmanian Aboriginal remains.

The British Natural History Museum has agreed to return the remains of 17 Tasmanian Aborigines but it first wants to do scientific tests.

Earlier this week, lawyers for the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre won an injunction in Britain’s High Court to halt the tests pending a further court hearing next week.

However, the centre said the cost of running the case was putting the legal proceedings at risk and called on the Commonwealth Government to fund the case.

Michael Mansell from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre says he received advice from the Attorney-General’s office late yesterday that funding had been granted.

“Our legal team in London can now get on with preparing the case for trial and we reckon that right and merit is on our side,” he said.

“It’s just a matter of the legal team being able to get it to hearing and now that the Australian Government is supporting it, that’s where we’re headed.”

But Mr Mansell still wants Prime Minister John Howard to intervene.

“We would appreciate an announcement by (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair that John Howard had approached him and as a result of that the Museum were going to hand the remains over unconditionally,” he said.

A final hearing is scheduled to take place in the High Court in London next Thursday.

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